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Virology. 1999 Jul 20;260(1):1-9.

Molecular cloning and characterization of MSRV-related sequences associated with retrovirus-like particles.

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Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, UMR 103 CNRS-bioMérieux, 46, Allée d'Italie, Lyon Cedex 07, 69364, France.


New sequences have been obtained by successive overlapping RT-PCR extensions from the pol region of a retroviral RNA (multiple sclerosis-associated retroviral element, MSRV) amplified in retrovirus-like particles from patients with multiple sclerosis. gag and pol sequences are related to type C oncoviruses, whereas the env sequence is closer to type D. A tryptophan-like (W) tRNA primer-binding site was identified downstream of the RU5 region in the 5'LTR, and the U3R region cloned in the 3'LTR exhibited potent promoter activity. MSRV clones define a novel family of endogenous elements, HERV-W. From our data, HERV-W RNAs are copackaged in extracellular particles which might be produced by replication-competent or transcomplemented HERV-W copies or by an exogenous member of the HERV-W family.

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